NAIROBI, Kenya, April 14 – Kenya dealt defending champion Scotland a big blow to its hopes of winning one of the four qualifying spots for the ICC Cricket World Cup after beating them by 24 runs at Stan Friedman Oval in Krugersdorp on Monday.Medium pacers Nehemiah Odhiambo and Lameck Ngoche took seven wickets between them to see Kenya through in a thrilling finale.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, Kenya struggled all the way through its innings. Only Collins Obuya managed to pass 30 for the East Africans as they posted a modest total of 178 with John Blain picking up four wickets.
But as they have done throughout this tournament so far, the Scots looked nervous at the crease and although Gavin Hamilton, Jan Stander and Craig Wright all got starts, they never looked fully at ease on a track that offered plenty to both spinner and seamer.
This defeat leaves Scotland on four points with two games to play and unless it wins its remaining games (against the UAE and Afghanistan) they can almost certainly kiss their World Cup dreams goodbye for another four years.
Elsewhere, Afghanistan’s miraculous odyssey towards the World Cup would appear to be over after suffering a six-wicket defeat to Canada at LC de Villiers Oval in Pretoria. Noor Ali (122) and Norooz Mangal (49) had given Canada some real cause for concern at half-time as the Afghans posted a hefty total of 265-8 off 50 overs.
But, on a good batting track, Rizwan Cheema, who had been the pick of his team’s bowlers with 3-41 off 10 overs, got Canada off to a typically rapid start scoring 46 off 23 balls (eight fours, two sixes) and although there was a brief stutter as Afghanistan took two quick wickets, Ian Billcliff (96 not out) and Ashish Bagai (68) batted sensibly to put their team on eight points almost certainly giving them a place in the next World Cup.
Mathematically, Afghanistan can still qualify but it would take a strange and unlikely chain of events to hand captain Mangal and his team a World Cup berth.